Nov. 28, 2004 – St. Croix may be struggling with how to attract more tourists, but this busy holiday weekend residents demonstrated that art and music will draw them out. Events Friday, Saturday and Sunday on both sides of the island made a splash, and there's another arts walk this Thursday in Christiansted to look forward to.
On Friday night in Christiansted during Jump Up, local residents danced in the street with mocko jumbies while a steel pan band played. A block away others hung out on the corner of King Street and Queen Cross Street listening to jazz.
Frederiksted on Saturday evening kicked off the Crucian Christmas Festival with the opening tramp. Music seemed to pulse up and down the streets and residents from across the island were taking part.
In the center of the Frederiksted action, the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts had an open house. People paraded through, admiring the work accomplished on the building during the last year, and talking to the dozen or so artists in attendance.
They enjoyed drinks and looked through the center's 2005 calendar, featuring the work of local artists as well as showing dates for events on St. Croix. This is the 11th year for the calendar.
The program for the open house offered a special thank-you to Warren Mosler, who made the occupancy of the building possible.
Then Sunday, there was the St. Croix Landmarks Society's 16th Starving Artists Day sale. Although no official counts were available during the event, the people at the gate were impressed, saying people were coming in a steady stream. The parking lot was full, and cars were parked along Centerline Road.
Acting director of the Whim Museum David Hayes said, "This is just a fun event."
Strolling among the outdoor stalls, Paul Chakroff said of the event, which occurs three times a year, "This is the best one of the year. This one gives you the opportunity to see the work of many different artists."
Katie Zimmerman of Christiansted said she has been attending the event for several years, but this was the first time she was there as a vendor. She was selling knit crafts she had made. However, she was still a patron: leaning against her chair was a painting she had bought a few minutes previously from the artist Heiko, located at Salt River Bay.
The green grass surrounding the Whim Museum, just outside Frederiksted, was home to local arts and crafts vendors. Crucian food and drinks, plants and produce, children's activities and live music were part of the program through 5 p.m.
Christiansted's art galleries, meanwhile, don't want it to slip from residents' minds that local art is being offered on the island every day. From November through April the galleries offer Gallery Walks, the first Thursday of each month, from 5 to 9 p.m. This Thursday's event will feature Yellow House Gallery, 3A Queen Cross Street, which is exhibiting the work of longtime St. Croix resident Judith King.
She is known for her lighthearted glimpses of the local scene, done in oil on canvas. Her whimsical colored-line drawings are also well received, and this show will include work using seeds, pods and papier mache to fashion masks, monsters and mocko jumbies, according to a press release.
Yellow House Gallery also features the jewelry designs of Shauna and Carl, photo transfer art by Sarah Cole and Laurie Le Grand's hand-made glass beads.
Christiansted gallery participants include Correa Studios, Danica Art Gallery, The Goldworker, iB Designs, Jewelweed, Maria Henle Studio, Torch Works and Yellow House.
Bellows International sponsors Art Thursday, with fine wines from California and Australia, and there is also participation by restaurants. The walks are free. Make a note that January's walk is the second Thursday of that month.
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